A fatty cheese platter accompanied by a few drops of red wine may not be as forgiving or mean as you initially thought it would be, even if you are on a diet.
This is because the “responsible” consumption of cheese and red wine could be good for your overall health and fabulous for your brain.
But before you jump face first into a huge slice of Gorgonzola, it’s important to know the truth about the protective characteristics of your favorite cheese and red wine combo.
“All cheeses have a low glycemic index, are high in protein, and contain an abundance of vitamins such as vitamin A, vitamin D, B6, B9 and minerals like calcium.”
The truth about the French paradox
For many years, the world believed that the French had the secret to eating for good health: they could consume a lot of cheese, full of saturated fat, and drink a lot of red wine without facing the same high rates of disease. heart disease and coronary heart disease deaths like other populations across Europe or Australia.
This concept, known as ‘French Paradox’, assumed there was either something unique about the French or something exceptional about their diet, filled with saturated fat like cheese, which heart health of the population. This paradox born in the 80s has since been refuted.
The positive side of the paradox, however, is that it has encouraged scientific research into the defining concept that the traditional French diet in its entirety is beneficial for health, especially since it is a Mediterranean diet. . Having a longer ‘French’ lunch – which includes moderate amounts of cheese and red wine – with family and friends is also a beloved tradition recognized by UNESCO.
What is the quality of the cheese?
Registered Dietitian Practitioner of Adelaide Nutrition, Mattea Palombo, explains that cheese can be part of a healthy diet, if consumed in moderation.
“All cheeses have a low glycemic index, are high in protein, and have an abundance of vitamins such as vitamin A, vitamin D, B6, B9 and minerals like calcium,” says Palombo.
Some types of cheese, like French blue Roquefort cheese, contain live probiotic bacteria, which may be beneficial for your gut.
“The only thing about the French diet is that it includes a variety of cheeses. So mix the types of cheese you eat to get the different benefits of the different types available. “
A 2012 study published in the journal Medical hypotheses shows some moldy cheeses, incLuding Roquefort, may even improve your cardiovascular health due to the presence of secondary metabolites produced by the fungi found therein. These fungi can inhibit cholesterol biosynthesis and bacterial growth, which could prevent cardiovascular disease.
To reap the rewards of cheese for health, Palombo advises you to stick to the recommended amounts of around 40 grams of cheese per day or 2.5 servings of dairy products in total (which includes milk, yogurt and cheese).
“The only thing with the French diet is that it includes a variety of cheeses,” says Palombo. “So mix the types of cheese you eat to get the different benefits of the different types available.”
What is the quality of red wine?
Although excessive alcohol consumption is detrimental to your health, there are some evidence to suggest that light to moderate consumption of red wine may be healthy and cardioprotective.
Palombo explains that wine contains polyphenols, which are antioxidants, ”she says. “Polyphenols are chemicals that also have a powerful influence on the gut microbiome. The most common is resveratrol. It slows down aging because it has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. “
Early research suggests that resveratrol – found in the skins of grapes used to make wine – may help prevent damage to blood vessels, lower bad cholesterol (low density lipoprotein or LDL cholesterol) and prevent blood clots from forming.
It is believed that because red wine ferments grape skins longer than other varieties, it contains more resveratrol. But this is still just the beginning, so more research is needed to conclude that the resveratrol in red wine protects your heart.
Benefits for the brain
The benefits of cheese and wine, taken in moderation, don’t stop just in the gut or heart – they continue in your brain.
A study published in the Alzheimer’s Disease Journal By the end of 2020, adding cheese and red wine to your daily diet may improve long-term cognitive results.
the large-scale research examined the health of nearly 1,800 UK adults through food questionnaires. The survey, conducted over two periods spaced six to ten years apart, examined participants’ consumption of fruits, vegetables, meats, bread, cheese and alcohol.
One of the main findings of the study was that cheese was found to be the most protective food against age-related cognitive decline. Meanwhile, daily consumption of red wine was associated with improvements in cognitive function.
But, Palombo warns, if you drink too much, you won’t get any of the benefits. “If you want to enjoy the benefits of red wine, stick to what is recommended [in Australia] – that’s 10 standard drinks a week, ”says Palombo.
“Each standard drink of wine is 100 ml, so try not to have more than a liter a week or two glasses. [over a sitting] for five days. “